(aus dem Jazzinstitut Darmstadt)
11 - 31 January 2024 | Ausgabe 2/2024 (English)

We read the morning paper for you!

Dear jazz friends,

The Jazzinstitut's JazzNews keeps you up-to-date with news of the jazz world, which we collect, summarize, and issue via e-mail about once a week. This service can also be accessed on our website (www.jazzinstitut.de), where it is updated on a daily basis.

If you need bibliographies of the musicians named in our JazzNews, please click on our website’s Jazz Index page. This is a bibliographical reference to jazz-related books, magazines, journals and other sources that you can access without charge. If you don't find the name(s) you’re looking for, feel free to e-mail us! We will send you Jazz Index digests of articles about musicians as they make the news.

Now, have fun reading about the jazz week that was!

Please note the editor's note at the end of this newsletter!

... brief news ...

Peter Jones reflects about the reasons why US American musicians came and still come to Europe (The New European). --- Vinnie Sperrazza celebrates Max Roach's centennial with a closer look at his album "The Drum Also Walzes" (part 1: Chronicles), his "concepts and the earliest recorded bebop" (part 2: Chronicles), his duos 1976-1982 (part 3: Chronicles). Maxi Broecking (die tageszeitung) and Beate Sampson (BR Klassik) remember Roach as well. And Doug Doyle talks to saxophonist Gary Bartz about his mentor Max Roach, as well as about the challenges for young musicians (WBGO).

Wolfgang Sandner celebrates Italian clarinetist and saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi who turned 80 these days (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). --- Lewis Porter continues his series on Duke Ellington's and Billy Strayhorn's "Such Sweet Thunder" by looking at Ellington's and Billy Strayhorn's musical relationship during the mid to late 1950s (Playback with Lewis Porter).

Alex Ross hears a performance by the International Contemporary Ensemble at New York's Armory that makes him celebrate the career of composer, improviser, electronic pioneer, and scholar George Lewis (The New Yorker). --- Hugh Morris talks to Shabaka Hutchings about his decision to put down the saxophone, focusing on the flute instead which he practiced seriously during the pandemic, as well as about the different instruments he has played and how they differ according to  material, tradition, and embouchure (New York Times).

Harry Nutt discusses the charge of cultural appropriation in music, focusing on the story of Blue Note label founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, referring to Jens Balzer's recent book "Ethik der Appropriation", and looking at the story of the song "Mr. Bojangles" (Berliner Zeitung). --- Nikki O'Neil talks to 96-year-old guitarist George Freeman about his latest album "The Good Life", about T-Bone Walker and other influences on his playing, about Chicago's jazz scene in the 1940s and early 1950s, about lessons learned by playing bebop, about performing with Charlie Parker who had asked him to move to New York, about "going outside the harmony", as well as about the connections between jazz and the blues. O'Neil also provides links to several bebop performances of Freeman over the years (Guitar Player).

Richard Duckett learns that Jaki Byard's piano that had been donated to New England Conservatory in 2008 has gone missing and is not accounted for since 2010 (Worcester Magazine). --- Lewis Porter explains the context of John Coltrane's 1963 recording of "Alabama" and examines what he calls "songs with lyrics", "pieces inspired by words", and "pieces with hidden texts" within Coltrane's œuvre (Playback with Lewis Porter), and he explains how Coltrane may have based his music on Dr. Martin Luther King's speech after the racist and terrorist bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama in which three girls were killed (Playback with Lewis Porter).

Giovanni Russonello attends Winter Jazzfest and Unity Jazz Festival in New York (New York Times). --- Nicky Schrire talks to German vocalist and educator Natascha Roth (London Jazz News) as well as Australian pianist and composer Nat Bartsch about balancing musical career and motherhood (London Jazz News). --- Hans-Jürgen Schaal remembers cornetist Freddie Keppard (BR-Klassik).

Andy Beta talks to guitarist Mary Halvorson about the exhaustion of traveling, about changes in her personal style, as well as about her latest album "Cloudward" in which she "consciously [wants to] leave a lot more space and breath" (The Guardian). --- Karen Ponzio talks to saxophonist and jazz historian Allen Lowe about how his music making and his research intersect, about a documentary in the making about his life "as filtered through the work that I do", as well as about, despite and health problems, feeling that he is "too obsessed to retire" (New Haven Independent).

George Varga talks to bassist Linda May Han Oh about her current band, about her goal being "to be fully, 100 percent, in the moment" when she plays, about the approach she took to her latest album "The Glass Hours", about cultural pride as one of the reasons why she changed her name from Linda Oh back to the original Linda May Han Oh, about her approach to teaching, as well as about the music community being a tremendous help when it comes to touring with her pianist husband and their 3-year-old son (San Diego Union-Tribune). --- Nate Chinen talks to pianist Ethan Iverson about his latest album "Technically Acceptable", about his time with The Bad Plus, about his vote for "more Count Basie and Duke Ellington in this music" in 2024, as well as about some of the references he makes in the album's music (The Gig). Chinen also talks to Iverson about his critical writing and the state of jazz criticism in general (The Gig).

In part 3 of his deep listening session to newly discovered recordings by Art Tatum Lewis Porter leads through a jam session on "I Got Rhythm", focusing on a solo by a mysterious soloist whom he identifies as Trummy Young, discussing the different reasons for that identification (Playback with Lewis Porter). --- Ethan Iverson takes the occasion of the centennial of the premiere of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" to reconsider what makes it so popular, how its "reception history (…) is more problematic than the work itself", explaining that many classical musicians simply weren't able to "play Gershwin’s basic syncopations and polyrhythms correctly", then talks to pianist Aaron Diehl about moving "beyond the nostalgia for this piece" (New York Times). Iverson adds some more notes on the "Rhapsody in Blue" in his own Blog (Transitional Technology).


We learned of the passing of Swiss drummer Pierre Bouru at age 95 (24 Heures), vocalist Jay Clayton at age 82 (New York Times), German promoter Dieter Reichert at age 84 (Eimsbütteler Nachrichten), vocalist Marlena Shaw at age 81 (Daily Mail), composer Peter Schickele aka P.D.Q. Bach at age 88 (New York Times), pianist Charles Boles at age 81 (Detroit Metro Times), French vibraphonist Michel Hausser at age 96 (TSF Jazz), guitarist Dean Brown at age 68 (Bonedo), Canadian pianist Bob Erlendson at age 93 (Jazz Passings), drummer Frank DeVito at age 93 (Jazz Passings), French drummer Philippe Combelle at age 84 (TSF Jazz), Dutch accordionist Rony Verbiest at age 67 (AVS), producer Kayla Feldman at age 81 (Daily Freeman), saxophonist Charles Austin at age 94 (Jazz Passings), French guitarist Slim Pezin at age 78 (Charts in France), saxophonist/Educator Jerry Coker at age 91 (Frost School of Music), trombonist Ron Moss at age 79 (TMZ), Argentinian drummer Enrique "Zurdo" Roizner at age 84 (El Destape), Swedish pianist Göte Wilhelmson at age 95 (Musikindustrin), trombonist Hal Smith at age 85 (Jazz Passings), critic and producer Bob Rusch at age 80 (Jazz Passings), British composer Laurie Johnson at age 96 (BBC), Czech drummer Jan Linhart at age 48 (Jazz Passings), Swedish sound engineer Thorbjörn Samuelsson at age 74 (Familjesidan), as well as German guitarist Sigi Schwab at age 83 (BR Klassik).

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

Changes at the Jazzinstitut:
... and a fond farewell

This newsletter is the last edition of the JazzNews compiled by me, Wolfram Knauer. The 31st of January will be by last workday at the Jazzinstitut, from tomorrow February 1st, I will be officially retired. As its founding director since 1990 I had the chance to shape the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, the services it continues to offer to the different communities it is involved in, and some of the discourses at least on the German scene, if not beyond. We did not so much have a clear vision of what the Jazzinstitut should be, but we but tried to keep our ears open and listen – to the music itself as well as to the needs of musicians, researchers, educators, cultural politicians, and fans. (There is a look back at the Jazzinstitut during my time as director in our local newspaper: Darmstädter Echo)

This newsletter never was a one-way street. We received comments, corrections, criticism, thank-you notes from you, our subscribers, and often that started a conversation about what you are doing and how we might possibly help you with your project. That kind of feedback is essential for an information and documentation center like the Jazzinstitut, thus: thank you as well!

As I retire, the JazzNews will take a pause. My successor Bettina Bohle will start March 1st, and one of the many projects on her desks will be how to continue this newsletter. It will probably be in a different format, perhaps not as often as it arrived in your mailbox over the past 20 years.

My thanks go to Arndt, Doris, and Marie for having my back over all these years. They are, arguably, the best colleagues one can imagine, supportive, critical, engaged, and full of ideas. I wish Bettina Bohle success in all her plans for the Jazzinstitut and the freedom to fulfill them and grasp the chance that lies in her new position. A big thank-you goes to all citizens of the city of Darmstadt who, after all, finance the Jazzinstitut since its inception in September 1990 and are proud of our activities, as we learn regularly during concerts or public tours of the archive.

Bettina Bohle has already been featured in our local newspaper (Darmstädter Echo), addressing some of her thoughts about the future direction of the Jazzinstitut. Will she continue the direction we have taken over the years? Certainly yes, and certainly no, because that's exactly why change is good and necessary, because change brings new ideas, change brings the courage to leave well-trodden paths and try something new. Make her feel as welcome as you have always made me feel welcome.

I will be retiring from the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, but I won't retire from jazz. I will continue to teach as professor at Mainz University, and I have other projects up my sleeve. If you want to know more about those, or if you want to just stay in contact, visit my new website – online since January 1, and still growing – and contact me there (www.wolframknauer.de).

That's all, folks! Thanks and good-bye … for now
Wolfram Knauer

Opening hours of the Jazzinstitut
The Jazzinstitut is open during our usual hours (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-2pm). We also offer research assistance by phone, e-mail or video-call. If you would like to schedule a video call, please send an e-mail to make an appointment and give us an idea what you want to talk about. We will then reply with a link for a Webex video session for your meeting.

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The Jazzinstitut is an institution of the City of Sciences Darmstadt | Das Jazzinstitut ist eine Einrichtung der Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt